16 Cocktail Dresses That Work For Every Occasion

Cocktail attire has a way of feeling confusing and restrictive. It's not quite black tie, but it's definitely a few notches above casual, which means we're always teetering on that line of formal dressing that doesn't involve a ball gown. Sure, having a trusted LBD in your closet can definitely help alleviate the stress of finding the perfect piece to wear, but throwing on the same item time and time again can get boring. So we're here to give a girl a helping hand (minus the cool '90s shopping montage).

Thankfully, the rules of cocktail dressing are a little more free than you would expect. From mini to maxi and everything in between, nailing a look for whatever big event is on your calendar can actually be easy (not to mention fun). When shopping around, we demand options — and, of course, that applies to our fancy frocks. In that vein, we've rounded up 16 different pieces that suit any mood, occasion, or venue. If you end up buying all of them, well, we won't blame you.
1 of 16
How to look red carpet ready.

Related Dita Dress, $240.45, available at Related.
Advertisement
2 of 16
This belted number can easily take you from Saturday-night party to Monday-afternoon meeting.

Mango Belt Satin Dress, $99.99, available at Mango.
3 of 16
Don't underestimate the power of a trapeze dress. The silhouette is (unexpectedly) flattering and works on just about anyone.

Paper London Phoenix Dress, $560, available at Paper London.
4 of 16
Go for an asymmetrical hemline that floats when you walk.

Topshop Unique Belfour Tea Dress, $435, available at Topshop.
5 of 16
Get your dose of off-the-shoulder action without going all the way.

Toit Volant Bellevue Navy Midi Dress, $186, available at Pixie Market.
6 of 16
Have an outdoor event to attend? This floral dress is the perfect pick.

Zara Printed Dress, $99.90, available at Zara.
Advertisement
7 of 16
Balance out a more conservative silhouette by going not-so-conservative with the print.

Edeline Lee Thither Dress, $1,396, available at 151Luwolt.
8 of 16
Add a bold lace bib to that little white dress to make a bigger statement.

Giambattista Valli Flower-Embellished Lace-Bib Dress, $2,228, available at MatchesFashion.
9 of 16
A reminder that hemlines are hiking upway up.

Reformation Lynne Dress, $198, available at Reformation.
10 of 16
Pair with a T-shirt during the day, and wear it on its own come night.

Finery London Ritson Organza Embroidered Trapeze Dress, $205 $155, available at Finery London.
11 of 16
With a cute printed piece like this, putting an outfit together requires minimal effort.

& Other Stories Asymmetric Herbarium Print Dress, $115, available at & Other Stories.
Advertisement
12 of 16
These straps do so much more than hold the dress up. They're a focus point of this LBD.

Acler Lockhart Dress, $450, available at Acler.
13 of 16
Wear a sexy slit without the internal panic of involuntary peep shows.

Lavish Alice Bandeau Body-Conscious Midi Dress with Neckline Detail, $89, available at ASOS.
14 of 16
Get that fresh-off-the-runway look.

Tibi Éclair Sequins Overall Dress, $1,250, available at Tibi.
15 of 16
Worried about wearing such a loud, abstract print? Just look to Lena Dunham for how to rock this piece in style.

Rachel Comey Bartram Dress, $690, available at Rachel Comey.
16 of 16
From garden parties to cocktail shindigs, this pale yellow dress is ready for any event.

NOT Front Drape Dress, $718, available at NOT.
Advertisement

Shop your inbox!

yay! get ready for the good stuff!